We periodically see press announcements touting a particular facility as the "world's most efficient data center," usually based on a low number for Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) the leading current metric for energy efficiency in data centers. The latest contender is the Capgemini Merlin data center in Swindon, England, which is scheduled to open this month.
Merlin is an intriguing project, as it combines many of the latest trends and best practices in modular data center design and cooling. Capgemini says its use of pre-manufactured modules will allow it to deploy customer space in just 22 weeks (about five months) and will deliver a PUE of approximately 1.10, which would rank it among the most efficient facilities in the world.
Regardless of where exactly Merlin fits in the PUE horse race, the project demonstrates many of the advantages of modular design, including the ability to build a minmalist shell, and tightly control airflow through the equipment area. Here's a closer look at the Merlin facility and its features.